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Milligan and Standard Publishing Recognize Christian Leaders at NACC

MILLIGAN COLLEGE, TN (July 5, 2002) – Milligan College and Standard Publishing recognized 12 individuals from throughout the United States who were selected as “Leaders in Christian Service.” They were honored during a special breakfast at the North American Christian Convention on June 27 in Columbus, Ohio.

“These professionals exemplify Christian servant leadership in their vocations and in their communities,” said Milligan President Donald R. Jeanes. “They represent Milligan’s mission of Christian servant leadership and are excellent examples for us all to follow.”

Those honored were recognized for their servant leadership and Christian example set through professional, vocational or volunteer leadership. Those recognized at the June 27 program are members of the Christian churches and churches of Christ, of which Milligan is affiliated. In April, the college recognized local Leaders in Christian Service from the Tri-Cities region.

“Milligan College and Standard Publishing share a long history of service to the church. In fact both organizations trace their founding to 1866,” said Mark Taylor, publisher of Standard Publishing in Cincinnati, Ohio. “Over the past 136 years both have sought to build up the local church by equipping men and women to lead through service. We are honored to be a part of this program as it seeks to highlight examples of Christian leadership for others to emulate.”

The 12 recipients included:

Don Laskowski, founder of Woodmizer, Inc. in Indianapolis, Ind. Laskowski built his business to include in its operation a department devoted to benevolent enterprises around the world funded through Woodmizer. He is an active and visible civic leader, and one of his passions is educating inner city children. He has devoted considerable energy and money to providing safe haven schools in Indianapolis’ inner city by finding capable persons who will direct a program to provide computerized educational enhancement for children. Laskowski was nominated by Rod Huron of Cincinnati Bible College & Seminary, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Mark Richardson, president and CEO of Home Medi-Services of Havre de Grace, Md. Richardson is an outstanding example of a successful businessman who embodies all the attributes of strong Christian character, explained Carol Barker of Mountain Christian Church, Joppa, Md., who nominated Richardson. His honesty and integrity in dealing with both his customers and employees is unquestionable. He is an active leader in his church and community and is supportive of the ministries of his congregation, seeking ways to aid them through his involvement.

“To Mark there is no ‘gray area.’ While others are looking for loopholes, dallying in the gray areas, and entering into fraudulent waters to increase business and make a buck, Mark has the courage to be unwavering in his beliefs. He is humble and gives all glory to God for his accomplishments,” said one current employee of Richardson.

Carl Hoffman, retired Delta Airlines captain, Johnson City, Tenn. Hoffman used his professional skills as a pilot to serve those in need and advance the cause of Christ. He consistently welcomed opportunities to lead through service, playing a founding role as chairman of the board at Christian City in Atlanta, Ga. Hoffman was nominated by Mr. And Mrs. Bruce Shipley of First Christian Church, Johnson City, Tenn.

“These men have demonstrated that business can be a profession worthy of one’s highest ideals and aspirations. They challenge each of us to be a person of the highest integrity, principles and character,” said Shawn McMullen, editor of The Lookout magazine, published by Standard Publishing.

Dr. Edwin Richardson, a dentist. “Edwin Richardson’s Christian leadership has been demonstrated very effectively in the planting of Heritage Christian Church,” said nominator Greg Marksberry, senior minister of Heritage, Fayetteville, Ga. Richardson has played many important roles in the life of the congregation but his ministry far exceeds the walls of the church building. He is well regarded in the community as a conscientious dentist and has a thriving practice as a result of his reputation, explained Marksberry.

Drs. Jim & Michelle Gardner play an important role in their community. Jim is chief of staff at Syringa General Hospital and Michelle has a private practice in Grangeville, Idaho, and is on the board of directors of the Idaho Academy of Family Physicians. Both are active in church and community, offering leadership to both the local schools and community hospital.

“They go out of their way to encourage and bless the pastoral staff,” said Harold Gott, senior minister at Grangeville Christian Church. Dr. Jim Gardner calls on the sick and afflicted, both as a physician and a shepherd of the flock, explained Gott.

Lynn Bledsoe, a volunteer, actively coordinates the church’s “Christmas for Kids” project, serving more than a thousand needy families around her home city of Jacksonville, Fla. Through this ministry she not only participated in meeting the needs of others but also provided an important opportunity for additional Christians to do likewise. Bledsoe is the mother of triplet boys, age 10, and yet still has no lack of energy or enthusiasm for the work of ministry. She has made her ministry one of compassion and service to others, explained Wise. Bledsoe was nominated as a Leader in Christian Service by Charles Peterman, minister of pastoral care and involvement at Jacksonville’s Mandarin Christian Church.

Ernie and Patty Hertzog lead and serve the students of Mountain Mission School, Grundy, Va. Ernie is president for Home Life and Patty is a teacher and houseparent.
“Patty has not chosen to lead out in the front where everyone’s eyes can see, but quietly, as an example, in the lives of thousands of children our society has chosen to ignore,” said one co-worker and friend. They confront the challenges of illiteracy, poverty, and neglect with the love of Christ.

“These men and women can model Christ-like compassion and grace when its need is most profoundly felt,” said Joe Wise, director of development at Milligan College. “They seek to meet the physical and spiritual needs around them.”

Justice Nathan Hecht serves the people of the state of Texas as a member of the state Supreme Court. He was elected to the Texas Supreme Court in 1988 following his years of service on the 95th District Court of Dallas County, to which he was appointed in September of 1981. Hecht serves both community and church. He teaches Sunday School each week at Valley View Christian Church in Dallas and serves as part of the church’s worship team. He is on the board of Pioneer Bible Translators and is committed to evangelism and the mission of God to every language and ethnic group.

“Justice Hecht has vigilantly attempted to know and apply the law of the land in the light of biblically based ethics and in the context of a Christian worldview. He firmly and appropriately bears witness of his faith in Jesus to his professional and political colleagues,” said a fellow church member. Justice Hecht was nominated by Dr. Rondal Smith of Pioneer Bible Translators.

Mark Durbin has seen the town of Kissimmee, Fla., grow dramatically in size and services during his 14 years as the city manager. His leadership has been marked by wisdom, steadfastness and integrity, explained nominator Tamara Bordelon of Florida Christian College. Working within the appropriate guidelines of his job, Durbin has successfully influenced the work of the city to be upstanding, with integrity, and a respect for others. His work ethic comes from a heart of Christian service that is modeled through his work with the city, said Bordelon.

Ralph Kinney Bennett served for many years as the Washington editor for Reader’s Digest magazine. He has served in many leadership capacities within his home church and has led writers’ forums for Standard Publishing.

“His sphere of influence has reached to high government officials as well as world leaders. Ralph has a heart for people and everything he accomplishes relays a quality of excellence,” said his former minister. Bennett was nominated by Rod Huron of Cincinnati Bible College & Seminary.

Representative Linda Reidelbach serves her constituents as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives. She is serving her first term representing the people of Ohio’s 26th State House District. Prior to being elected to the House, she made a run for the U.S. Congress and chaired the Greater Columbus League of Decency.

“Linda’s Christian views have been a driving force behind her policies, despite well-publicized opposition,” said her nominator, Lee Cox, minister of discipleship for the Worthington Christian Church, Columbus, Ohio. Her concern for the citizens of the state and her district is noble, and her service to community and church exemplary, explained Cox.

David and Peggy Beamer have given a most powerful expression of their hope when asked to give details of their faith following the tragic events and loss of their son, Todd, on Sept. 11. In the days following the tragic events of September 11, the Beamers found their family’s loss prominently in the minds of all Americans. Their son, Todd, issued the challenge to those on board Flight 93, saying “Let’s Roll.”

“The events of that fateful day drew attention to lives already being lived for Christ so that the world might see. The Beamers’ testimony in a time of profound loss has challenged and encouraged all who hear it,” said Wise. “The Beamers’ many years of Christian service make them worthy of this recognition. Peggy’s love for her children and service to the church and David’s commitment to personal and professional integrity would most appropriately demonstrate their Christian leadership.”

The Beamers were nominated by Ken Meade, friend and retired minister at the Church of Christ at Manor Woods, Md.


MILLIGAN UNIVERSITY is a Christian liberal arts university in Northeast Tennessee whose vision is to change lives and shape culture through a commitment to servant leadership. The university offers more than 100 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in a variety of fields, along with graduate and adult degree completion programs.  To learn more about Milligan University, visit www.milligan.edu or call 800-262-8337.

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